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Regional Picks: Underused Perennials – Northern Plains

Fine Gardening - Issue 187

1. Purple Poppy Mallow

Name: Callirhoe involucrata

Zones: 4–8

Size: 6 to 9 inches tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; dry to medium, well-drained soil

Native Range: Prairies and open woodlands in the central and southern Great Plains

In May and June, this sprawling plant produces masses of wine red, 21⁄2-inch-wide, chalice-shape flowers above mats of deeply divided leaves. Its rambling growth habit makes it a unique ground cover for dry, sunny situations; it is also beautiful tumbling over the edge of a garden wall. After the initial flush of blooms, grooming the plant can encourage a fresh crop of foliage and flowers.

 

2. Bottlebrush Grass

Name: Elymus hystrix

Zones: 5–9

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall; 12 to 18 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; dry to medium, well-drained soil

Native Range: Dry woodlands in the east-central United States and adjacent areas of Canada

This species is not a very notable presence until it…

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